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Why Do You Want To Kill My Pet? Zynga Shuts Down PetVille, 10 Others

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the to-virtually-dissect-and-eat-it dept.

Businesses 377

Dr Herbert West writes "Executing the cost-reduction plan CEO Mark Pincus announced in November, Zynga has shut down, pulled from the app stores, or stopped accepting new players to more than 10 games such as PetVille, Mafia Wars 2, FishVille, Vampire Wars, Treasure Isle, Indiana Jones Adventure World, Mafia Wars Shakedown, Forestville, Montopia, Mojitomo, and Word Scramble Challenge. Comments from gamers on the shutdown notices included things like 'my daughter is heartbroken' and 'Please don't remove petville. I been playing for 4 yrs. and I'M going to miss my pet Jaime.why do you want cause depression for me and others. Why do you want to kill my pet?' For players that have invested a lot of microtransactions and/or time, this comes as a heavy blow."

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And nothing of value was lost (5, Insightful)

mlookaba (2802163) | about 2 years ago | (#42443793)

bye bye

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#42443855)

Exactly. The value lost to geeks is zero, zip, nada, zilch, etc.
And why should we care about this fluff, anyway?

Re:And nothing of value was lost (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42444033)

Because this is the thing geeky cautionary tales are made of.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42444179)

Which unfortunately, only geeks listen to.

Everyone else thinks "bla bla bla, I just wanna buy my iShiny!"

Re:And nothing of value was lost (5, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42444537)

Personally, I think the logical conclusion to Pincus's master plan is eVille, where you have to make as much money as possible from your game characters' on-line activities.

Luckily, some of the smartest guys on the Internet saw it coming, hence Google's well-known motto, "Don't play eVille."

Re:And nothing of value was lost (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444117)

First they came for my pet and I said nothing
Then they came for my fish and I still said nothing
etc
Just wait for the delicious tears when someday WoW shuts down

Re:And nothing of value was lost (4, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42444205)

At least this should serve as a warning to those who trust such a shitstain company as Zynga, the biggest bastards in the gaming industry (to their own employees at least...Ubisoft and Nintendo may be worse to customers).

Re:And nothing of value was lost (5, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 2 years ago | (#42444299)

    They've stepped up their bastardery too. I got a spam today where a "friend" (someone I'd never heard of) invited me to play "Ruby Blast", which is on of their games.

    The links are legit, they go to their game, so it's not a phisher. It's just them being rude. I've been blocking all their apps, as people start spamming me with FB invites.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42444693)

What 'trust' was there in Zynga? There are lots of "freemium" games that people have "invested" time and money into that have disappeared into the ether.

If you want something that won't disappear 5 minutes after you pay for it, you need to take actual physical possession of it. Or at least get whomever you are purchasing from to say "We won't take this away from you for at least 10 minutes."

Re:And nothing of value was lost (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444165)

And why should we care about this fluff, anyway?

You clearly don't have children. You will learn what a Bieber is, and why iTunes gift cards and not the President, is the current incarnation of the anti-christ. You will discover the joys of cleaning out a malware infested computer in your teenager's bedroom on a biweekly basis, to the point that you, in a fit of anger, spend a weekend building a vm image with a pxe server and restoration image so your solution to their pepetual inability to listen to you and then try to actively override any security features designed to keep them from screwing it up is "press f12 and wait an hour, and no bitching about your 'lost music', dumbass." And you will also learn why a random sampling of teenager's glowy rectangles show that Facebook is almost always on it... and thus, Zynga is as well.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (0, Troll)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about 2 years ago | (#42444345)

"and why iTunes gift cards and not the President, is the current incarnation of the anti-christ."

Had to sneak that little conservative tidbit in there, didn't we?

Enablers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444373)

Well, no.

You enable your children.

Blah blah blah PXE blah blah saved image blah blah.

If they can't keep the computer malware free TAKE IT AWAY FROM THEM.

"You clearly don't have children."
Perhaps the poster doesn't.
But you have no idea how to properly deal with yours.

M

Re:Enablers (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444551)

But you have no idea how to properly deal with yours.

You assume they're my children. Strangely enough, other family members have a desire to breed as well, and even stranger... my reputation as a computer geek makes my phone ring when things like this happen. And the worst of it is, being that they're family and have done so very many thing to help me out over the years, it's not like I can say no. But you go ahead and rock the condescending angle, man.

Blah blah blah PXE blah blah saved image blah blah.

Running each scanner one at a time, plus cleaning whatever is missed, takes many hours. After doing this a few times, it becomes easier to just build an image backup/restore. Of course, you, having apparently no family, social obligations, or desire to help anyone but yourself, would never consider the benefits of being able to tell said teenager(s) to "press F12 and wait" and then reaping the favor of others, perhaps leading them to say, replace that water pump on your car that died, etc.

Re:Enablers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444657)

Are you for real? You think taking something away from a child because they don't have the skills (Human or techie) to keep the malware off their PC.
The same Malware that has infected countless numbers of PCs, the same PC/Malware that have created an industry to care and service for such things.

You think taking it away will teach the child to learn about these things?
I'm guessing you're the same person that would have the safety caps removed from all bleach bottles and such things.

So someone who gives their child a PC and hopes they will learn to use it doesn't know how to deal with their Kids?
Seems he's going out of his way to bring them up and allow them to learn.

Who AM I kidding, I bet you stopped reading this after you came to the conclusion that It's not agreeing with you.

M for Moron

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

cblguy2 (1796986) | about 2 years ago | (#42444461)

I have children... and no computers in the bedrooms! Big mistake there. You've got to keep watch (and a listen, if they use chat/Skype) on your kids' online habits.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444479)

I would tell my son that he's a faggot for being so needy for attention, like a little girl is, and then drive the point home by bragging about how my generation jumped bikes at construction sites and played sports instead of being big sissies like guys are now.

Daughters are much more simple - You tell 'em that if they get knocked up, the baby is being aborted or else they and their baby are both given up for adoption and/or kicked out on the street. No ifs, ands, or buts.

The problem with your approach is that you're being too soft - You're setting yourself up to let kids get away wtih all that and walk all over you. That is a perfect example of today's impotent parenting, lacking discipline. You lay down the ground rules, and the second they fuck up, disable their access to the internet for a week, and smack 'em in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper if they start givin' you any lip. You're the one in charge, so take charge. If they need the internet for anything like homework, then you install an ultra-repressive linux install with permissions for only Firefox and LibreOffice. Generate the kids' access keys for the router on a day-to-day basis to ensure compliance. If they start whining about Facebook and Farmville, kick them outdoors on their bikes for a few hours. Sheesh, what is wrong with parents nowadays?

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:And nothing of value was lost (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42444481)

What horrible parent allows their kid on Facebook?

Re:And nothing of value was lost (0, Troll)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#42444515)

And why should we care about this fluff, anyway?

You clearly don't have children.

Actually, I do.

You will learn what a Bieber is, and why iTunes gift cards and not the President, is the current incarnation of the anti-christ. You will discover the joys of cleaning out a malware infested computer in your teenager's bedroom on a biweekly basis, to the point that you, in a fit of anger, spend a weekend building a vm image with a pxe server and restoration image so your solution to their pepetual inability to listen to you and then try to actively override any security features designed to keep them from screwing it up is "press f12 and wait an hour, and no bitching about your 'lost music', dumbass." And you will also learn why a random sampling of teenager's glowy rectangles show that Facebook is almost always on it... and thus, Zynga is as well.

Wow, I'm glad I don't have the kids you're thinking of. Mine are pre-teen to teenage, and all use Linux on their laptops, and never need them cleaned of viruses or other malware. They also have little or no use for Facebook or Bieber or iTunes; even the teenage girl prefers real relationships and does not partake in fake online ones. I mostly like their music (Apulanta, D.A.D., Green Day, Nightwish, Rammstein, Royal Republic, Sturm und Drang, Within Temptation, and so forth), which is on their phones as well as their laptops, and has been ripped onto our server at home also. In fact, we all get on fairly well together without major hangups.

Your parenting skills would appear to be dreadful. Have you considered seeking help?

Re:And nothing of value was lost (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444709)

Your parenting skills would appear to be dreadful. Have you considered seeking help?

Why does ever single fucking /. post involving kids always end up with an arrogant shit-stain like you having a go at the parenting skills of someone you have never met? What is it about kids that turns every asshole on this site into a self-appointed parent-judge? Shut the fuck up already!

Business as usual from Zynga. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443811)

This is what happens when you let people who don't really know video games run a video game company.

Re:Business as usual from Zynga. (1)

Raith Payne (1377135) | about 2 years ago | (#42443891)

This is what happens when you let people who don't really know video games run a video game company.

Amen, to that. Frankly I have never 'played' one of these Zynga games but the feeling is the same. Suits are ruining a fine art and a personal hobby. This should only be a harsh lesson to those who would purchase mT's. We already know the pushers are just fine with this kind of arrangement.

*WHAT*...video "games"? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443925)

Seriously, where is the "game" in Farmville? I certainly didn't see any.

Re:*WHAT*...video "games"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443993)

Touché.

Re:*WHAT*...video "games"? (2)

dingen (958134) | about 2 years ago | (#42444257)

There isn't much of a gaming element in Transport Tycoon or SimCity either, but still those titles are fun to play and highly successful. Not having all of the (or even any) of the traditional components that make up a game doesn't mean the result can't be good.

Re:*WHAT*...video "games"? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444329)

There isn't much of a gaming element in Transport Tycoon or SimCity either

LOL what? Learned skills combine with an element of randomness in a competition to maximize an arbitrary numerical metric? When did they take that outta TT or SC?

Re:*WHAT*...video "games"? (2)

Roblimo (357) | about 2 years ago | (#42444293)

Nor did I, but my wife did. And after a year or so, when she had built up to FarmMansion with sharecroppers and huge herds of various animals and a hot tub and so on, she got bored and stopped.

Re:*WHAT*...video "games"? (1)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about 2 years ago | (#42444409)

FarmMansion with sharecroppers and huge herds of various animals

Wait, how far does this go? Is there a Plantationville, too?

Re:*WHAT*...video "games"? (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about 2 years ago | (#42444567)

Indeed this is the first time I've ever read something about FV that interested me. Virtual misery and famine, bring it on. FarmCollective? FarmKulak? FarmDustBowl? FarmHolodomor?

Did you all learn you lesson? (3, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 2 years ago | (#42443819)

Will you finally stop sending Zygna money for doing nothing?

Re:Did you all learn you lesson? (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 2 years ago | (#42444267)

While they provided the game for free, it did take some manpower to make. So buying addons is rewarding a company for making a game you enjoy and provides some value-added enjoyment. But the caveat is that while the buyer might believe they are 'paying into it' in order to get a benefit, there is no such obligation on the part of the company expressed by this purchase. So there is a value, but not a lasting value.

Re:Did you all learn you lesson? (4, Interesting)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 years ago | (#42444451)

While they provided the game for free, it did take some manpower to make..

Not really. Zygna is all about copying other people's games in order to minimize the need to do any actual work.

From the CEO himself: "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

Re:Did you all learn you lesson? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444403)

Exactly, look at the forums at Zynga [zyngaplayerforums.com] and you will see they do nothing. Tons of bugs that keeps people from playing coupled with timed quests force players to purchase *bucks (Replace the * with Farmville, Cafeworld, or any other Zynga "game") to advance in these quests or fail them. Many times people have lost their virtual bucks and have also even lost their saved games with Zynga only telling them "Oh well tough shit". Zynga is nothing more than a con artist and the FTC should investigate Zynga for possible illegal activities.

For your enjoyment I will leave you all with this.

Teacher says to pupil "& what does your Dad do?" Jimmy says: "He's a stripper in a gay bar & often lets other men touch his privates." After class the teacher takes Jimmy to one side & says "Is that true about your Dad, Jimmy?" Jimmy replies "No, he really works as a programmer for Zynga, but I was too embarrassed to admit that!!!"

"Invest" (3, Insightful)

Beetjebrak (545819) | about 2 years ago | (#42443837)

Investment implies some form of return.. Sinking time into pointless games in't an investment, it's a waste.

--Ebenezer Scrooge

Re:"Invest" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444081)

Investment implies some form of return.. Sinking time into pointless games in't an investment, it's a waste.

--Ebenezer Scrooge

Says the Slashdot poster.

Q.E.D., I suppose....

Re:"Invest" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444151)

The return is entertainment.

Re:"Invest" (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#42444335)

Investment implies some form of return.. Sinking time into pointless games in't an investment, it's a waste.

Value is subjective, not objective. Someone who keeps playing petsville clearly values whatever he gets from it more than he does the time spent getting it. It's not your time so you don't get to judge whether it's wasted or not.

Re:"Invest" (-1)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about 2 years ago | (#42444593)

It's not your time so you don't get to judge whether it's wasted or not.

It's not your judgement so you don't get to judge whether it's allowed or not. You were doing fine until there, though.

Re:"Invest" (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444375)

Investment implies some form of return.

Great quote. Hundreds of years of economic history show that's literally a unthinkable concept during a bubble run-up, but around the peak / after the pop everyone agrees it was of course self evident in retrospect. Happens every time, doesn't matter if its tulips, dotcoms, real estate, or, apparently, MMOs / social networking.

This historical comparison has certain negative implications for the near and medium term future of MMOs and "social networking".

Correct, but that is why "investment" is perfect (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#42444585)

Investment implies some form of return.. Sinking time into pointless games in't an investment, it's a waste.

To you there might be no point but from the messages we can see there is very a much a point, and a return - that is emotional attachment.

That is the return people get from these games, and why it is very much an investment for them. It also explains why people are MORE put out by an "investment" like this vanishing rather than mere monetary investments failing, because there is a strong emotional component and a loss feels like treachery.

I'm not saying it's healthy, but that is what people are getting from these systems and you should not discount the power it has over people.

Virtual Money (1)

The RoboNerd (551256) | about 2 years ago | (#42443851)

I wonder how much money people who played those games have just "lost." In the real world, I give you a dollar and you give me a widget. In these virtual worlds, I give you points that I purchased with a real dollar and you give me a virtual widget. And when you shut the virtual world down I'm left with nothing. I see they're giving bonus packages for their other games but with the company sinking fast that offer seems pretty hollow.

Re:Virtual Money (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42443947)

At least they didn't invest in Facebook itself though.

Re:Virtual Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444037)

In the real world I give you a dollar and you give me something I value at a dollar or greater. While that can be a widget it can also be a service.

Re:Virtual Money (1)

The RoboNerd (551256) | about 2 years ago | (#42444129)

In the real world I give you a dollar and you give me something I value at a dollar or greater. While that can be a widget it can also be a service.

In these games people psychologically treat whatever they buy as a widget.

Re:Virtual Money (4, Interesting)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 2 years ago | (#42444133)

These constructs in games are very similar to financial products, which are also logical constructs and virtual products:

1) "A financial product is about as conceptual as you can get,” says Wilson Ervin, a senior adviser at Credit Suisse. “You just need paper and ink.”-- The Economist magazine [economist.com]

2) "In an even more blunt description, Tourre calls the CDOs he produced "intellectual masturbation" and likens himself to Dr. Frankenstein.

"When I think that I had some input into the creation of this product (which by the way is a product of pure intellectual masturbation, the type of thing which you invent telling yourself: 'well, what if we created a 'thing', which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?")" -- CNN / Money [cnn.com]

Be wary of those who tout the financialization of society, as it results in a "house" which generates these logical constructs, which it then sells to people. They have value because people value them, like Petville pets or Farmville tractors. All of these things are neither goods, nor services, but logical constructs. They're inherently volatile. The financial world is built on logical constructs - currency is a logical construct, as are stocks and bonds. Currency is durable construct because it makes life easier for people versus barter. Stocks are volatile - "Shares of ownership in a company." Bonds are volatile - "Promises to pay."

Anyway, just wanted to point out the similarities.

Re:Virtual Money (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444421)

1) "A financial product is about as conceptual as you can get,” says Wilson Ervin, a senior adviser at Credit Suisse. “You just need paper and ink.”-- The Economist magazine [economist.com]

2) "In an even more blunt description, Tourre calls the CDOs he produced "intellectual masturbation" and likens himself to Dr. Frankenstein.

Another funny similarity is that sounds a heck of a lot like academia / PHD thesis time.

Physics grad students moving to wall street as quants get all the blame, but the problem goes a lot deeper into academia than just the F=ma guys.

The cloud is a harsh master (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443861)

You're welcome!

The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based games (4, Insightful)

MarioMax (907837) | about 2 years ago | (#42443877)

It's something that MMO players have had to deal with for some time, and now it's something Facebook gamers now have to deal with: Money you throw at online games, be it in the form of microtransactions or subscriptions, is of little long-term value. You might get enjoyment out of it now, but that doesn't mean the game will be around tomorrow.

Let this be a lesson to people that haven't learned it yet.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444041)

Investment? Jesus fuck, it's $15 a month, the average person with a life spends way more than that monthly for much less hours of enjoyment than a MMO can a provide you in a month. What you "lose" is the hours themselves, the same hours you would've lost watching TV, wheeling a bike, going for a walk, etc.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444067)

Let this be a lesson to people that haven't learned it yet.

In other news, you're a heartless bastard... And so is Zynga. True as it may be, teaching our children and teenagers (the main market for Zynga games), and to a lesser extent young adults, the harsh reality of capitalism by inflicting emotional pain is not socially acceptable. They don't know any better and have had precious little opportunity at this point to learn that. The "lesson to people" attitude is mean-spirited and absolves Zynga of its higher level of social responsibility because its primary audience are people who simply don't know any better. It's no different than scammers preying on the elderly to extract money from them; It's going after people who are vulnerable and defenseless.

Saying this is just a "lesson" is a moral justification for predatory social behavior.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

mlookaba (2802163) | about 2 years ago | (#42444103)

Cancelling a game is "inflicting emotional pain"?

You need to get your kids out more.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444259)

Cancelling a game is "inflicting emotional pain"? You need to get your kids out more.

Yes, it's inflicting emotional pain. Not harm, pain. In the same way that stubbing your toe hurts and getting your dick chopped off by a robot purpose-built to hunt down asshat slashdot posters hurts. Pain is pain. I said nothing about the amount. Now go drink some water, eat a candy bar, or whatever the hell you do so you can be less of an asshole.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

mlookaba (2802163) | about 2 years ago | (#42444351)

You're right. We should probably get the government to regulate this kind of thing. Game companies inflicting emotional pain on kids is unacceptable.

Perhaps a new payroll tax?

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444617)

Game companies inflicting emotional pain on kids is unacceptable. Perhaps a new payroll tax?

Sure! I'm all for government regulation, but I think you're working the deal all crabbed: A sarcastic asshole tax would probably earn more revenue, and pay for therapy for the emotional pain of said kids many times over. With the excess revenue, we could go on to fund research on it as an alternative energy source. I don't know how many watts a mlookaba can generate, but I'd love to find out.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

mlookaba (2802163) | about 2 years ago | (#42444689)

Wow you win. You're so angry that we should all just agree with your view. Well played sir.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444431)

with those kind of games, -making- the game is inflicting emotional pain...

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444199)

teaching our children and teenagers (the main market for Zynga games), and to a lesser extent young adults, the harsh reality of capitalism by inflicting emotional pain is not socially acceptable

So... what would be an improvement? I think this is better than having a unemployed family member live under a highway overpass, or parents get downsized lose medical coverage and die, kicked out of house in foreclosure, watching grannie eat alpo because she has no income anymore, or about 80 bazillion other ways to teach kids about the realities of capitalism... Killing off some kids virtual pet is fairly compassionate in comparison to any other teachable moment...

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444411)

Killing off some kids virtual pet is fairly compassionate in comparison to any other teachable moment...

This isn't education. This is a company that has made hundreds of millions of dollars by preying on children and teenagers selling them products and services that have little value and are grossly over-priced. Using greater evils in the world to justify a lesser evil is morally questionable. Let's say I crash into you in my car. You drive a very nice car, obviously a person of means. In my defense, I say I shouldn't have to pay as much in repairs, because it didn't hurt you as much as if I'd run into a poor person's car. You can get a rental, buy a new car, etc., so the proportional harm is less than the guy who's crappy buick I just wrecked and he has no money for repairs, or a rental, etc., and now may very well lose his job. This is the moral equivalent to the argument you're making, but with the roles reversed.

You're making an argument here based on your own emotional needs; Namely that you dealt with worse as a child and therefore these kids should "toughen up a bit". Take yourself out of the equation and evaluate objectively.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444647)

Its education, in that it provides a small example for a kid to roll around in his head without as much pain as any bigger real world example I can think of. I ask again, whats your superior suggestion to teach "the harsh reality of capitalism" with superior defined as causes less pain to the kid?

Your standard /. car analogy was not very good, although I respect the effort to uphold /. tradition (seriously). I'm guessing your point is you don't like bankruptcy laws, no-fault insurance, or the existence of uninsured motorist coverage because of payout disparity depending on wealth?

The "toughen up a bit" is not to make me feel better (none of that stuff ever happened to me, although I suppose if it did I'd be tougher now) the point is to make the kid less brittle when something bad happens to them. The old argument of "make sure you have a pet, so the first death in the family the kid experiences is merely his goldfish, not grannie"

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444235)

Why are they obligated to continue a service if they are no longer wanting to continue the service? Did they say it would last forever? Saying they have an obligation to continue selling something they no longer want to sell is altruistic bs.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#42444571)

Why are they obligated to continue a service if they are no longer wanting to continue the service? Did they say it would last forever?

An excellent question, to which I haven't seen an answer yet. Did their TOS promise anything forever? I doubt it. BUT... did their TOS say they may, at any point in the future, discontinue the service and offer no refund or release for future content? Maybe. Maybe not.

Not that many read the fine print, but the point is that most people, especially kids, are very short-sighted, and expect things they like to last forever. If you're going to kill off something that kids have come to expect, it'd at least be a good idea to be nice about it instead of just yanking the plug.

Open source the server so someone else can take over the project. More than likely someone will. Otherwise, all that investment people have put into their virtual bits turns to crap overnight, and that's totally unnecessary. and cruel to some.

They could have fun with it even, send it out with a bang instead of a whimper. Make it possible to give your pet a "going away party" or something. What they're getting right now isn't too far off from the family dog getting hit by a car. Ya I know it's just bits, to you and me, but not to a lot of others. They've got an emotional attachment to those bits.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444263)

Note that these are the people who keep telling us that we're paranoid and asocial for not wanting to buy into the cloud, software as a service and virtual goods. It's not like we haven't tried to warn them. Some people only learn when they are directly affected. I have compassion for an individual who is emotionally or financially invested in one of these games, but on a more general level, I can only muster schadenfreude.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444291)

Saying this is just a "lesson" is a moral justification for predatory social behavior.

No, it's a lesson.

People will have to learn that a game that doesn't support play without relying on company controlled servers have a limited lifespan and the worth of such a game is significantly less than the worth of a game with functionality that doesn't rely external servers.

People who feel nostalgic about games like monkey island or doom can still play those games. People who see World of Warcraft as a part of their childhood will probably not be able to do the same in twenty years.

Don't give away your money for something that you aren't given control over.

THINK OF THE CHILDREN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444309)

It's not Zynga's job to teach your children. It's YOUR JOB. You failed.

Instead of teaching your children you're blaming Zynga for not teaching them. YOU FAILED.

Worse yet, instead of recognizing that you're a piss-poor excuse for a parent, and taking responsibility, you're trying to blame a third party. At being a good parent... YOU FAILED.

Go kill yourself now. Your children won't suffer. After all, Zynga is going to bring them up just fine. You won't suffer either. Because you'll probably not kill yourself and instead spend the next few years trying to pretend like your children's upbringing is not YOUR fault but Zynga (or some other unrelated 3rd party)'s fault.

You're a moron, but you summed it up best with:
> Saying this is just a "lesson" is a moral justification for predatory social behavior.

You're an idiot who shouldn't have kids, raise kids, or discuss educating kids. The only predatory behavior here is me telling you to go kill yourself you miserable excuse for an excuse-maker.

Those who can't take responsibility must die. You're on first.

M

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444473)

This is a valuable lesson. Kids should have these formative experiences when they're young to build those defenses when parents can comfort their vulnerability. Reality is harsh, with disappointments, unplanned surprises, and gotcha's. What's the alternative? We can't protect our kids forever and they need to deal with reality as it is, not as parents wish it was. This is a learning experience that business relationships (a software program, a service, a microtransaction game, Divx, Amazon's Kindle, their *JOB*) are transitory, and will only continue as long as they are in both party's benefit.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 2 years ago | (#42444101)

It's got nothing to do with micro-transactions, it's about lock-in. They bought a good that can only be used in conjunction with a service from a single vendor. If that vendor decides to stop offering the service, the problem arises because the entire utility of the good is tied to that service. How exactly they paid for the good is irrelevant. It's the fact that they can't continue to use the good independently of the vendor they bought it from.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

theskipper (461997) | about 2 years ago | (#42444251)

My spidey senses say that there will soon be an "OpenPets" github project, coupled with the obligatory web2.0 homepage. Essentially the nextgen version of virtual pets.

(Only half kidding btw)

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444297)

My spidey senses say that there will soon be an "OpenPets" github project, coupled with the obligatory web2.0 homepage. Essentially the nextgen version of virtual pets.

My common sense is tingling, and it says lawsuitilarity will ensue if this is attempted.

Re:The Risk of playing Microtransaction-based game (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42444499)

It's the fact that they can't continue to use the good independently of the vendor they bought it from.

Web-based games like the kind Zynga produces use a lightweight client (Flash) because many of the platforms it develops for are resource-constrained. iPads, hand-me-down laptops from the parents, smartphones, etc. As a result, a lot of the processing has been moved to the server to enable that functionality. It's a rational design trade-off. Of course, when the server costs more to maintain than the income generated by keeping it on, it's time to shut it down. And yes, it is possible to port the application to run standalone, and even add certain community-features at a very low pricepoint -- but it costs money.

That's the downside of Web 2.0. It's a cost tradeoff -- you can spread your costs to millions of people to enable things like Google Mail, giving people gigabytes of free-to-access e-mail storage and a number of added features beyond that, in exchange for advertising revenue. It's economy of scale -- there are business models for which the margins are so tiny, that it takes millions of customers to make it viable. So if the breakeven ever falls under a certain point, it's no longer economical.

For the Best (3)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 2 years ago | (#42443935)

If people learn not to play Zynga games from this, it will be for the best. Maybe someone not yet victimized by this can learn from others' stupid mistakes.

Not just Zynga (1)

Isara (869637) | about 2 years ago | (#42444217)

although I have my issues with Zynga as a company, it's not much different than any other game or service that runs on microtransactions. The real lesson here is that emotional and financial investment in a web-based game controlled by a third party is always subject to cancellation. People need to recognize that their micropayments are for temporary gratification, and not permanently.

one key point (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42443965)

If they'd have recognized the many, many red flags all around the media and internet screaming that Zynga is evil, greedy, devious, copycatting bastards run by the king of all assholes and should be avoided at all costs, maybe the players wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

If you spend money on F2P... (4, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 2 years ago | (#42443971)

You'd better view it as an entertainment expense no different than cable TV or going to see a Movie or a play or a baseball game. That's what I do. I play Star Trek Online. About once a month I buy $20 worth of game cards. When I went out on a week night to watch a game with friends at a sports bar I'd spend at least that much, probably more on food and drink. Hell It's $15 to see a movie anymore for 2 hours of entertainment. I play STO 20 - 30 hours a month.

Re:If you spend money on F2P... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444001)

I play STO 20 - 30 hours a month.

So, what you are saying is that you have no life?

Re:If you spend money on F2P... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444185)

Sounds like he's saying he knows what he enjoys and he does it.

Re:If you spend money on F2P... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444233)

I play STO 20 - 30 hours a month.

So, what you are saying is that you have no life?

Yep. Spending an average of 40 minutes to an hour each day playing STO leaves him with no time to do anything else at all.

I have the same problem with television... one or two half hour programmes a day, and I've no time to socialise!

Re:If you spend money on F2P... (2)

zoward (188110) | about 2 years ago | (#42444207)

You are the way this model should work - you understand that what you're spending money on is entertainment, not any sort of future investment. If STO shut down tomorrow. the $20 you spent last month wasn't "lost" - it was spent on a month's worth of entertainment, As you mentioned, it can actually be a good entertainment value. When MMO's do shut down, it's a sad day for players who enjoyed the game, but a worse day for those who mistakenly thought of the money they spent on the game as "invested" in their avatar(s).

Not Games or Gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444055)

These are not games and people who play them are not gamers. Keep convincing yourselves that they are, you cow clicking morons.

A brilliant strategy... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#42444105)

So, let's get this straight:

A company, Zynga, runs a business that is based on sucking people in and getting them to engage in small transactions for the purchase of various virtual things, along with incentives to spam their friends.

As a 'cost reduction measure', Zynga abruptly terminates the virtual things of some of their well-sucked-in customers, simultaneously breaking their habitual connection to whatever game they were playing and providing the nontechies with an object lesson in just how ephemeral 'ownership' is in Zynga's horrid little playground.

In what universe, exactly, did this plan make any sense? Did Zynga hire some jackoff from an 'enterprise solutions' firm, who thinks that customers will just have to migrate to the shiny new product because support is no longer available for the old one?

Re:A brilliant strategy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444277)

So, let's get this straight:

A company, Zynga, runs a business that is based on sucking people in and getting them to engage in small transactions for the purchase of various virtual things, along with incentives to spam their friends.

As a 'cost reduction measure', Zynga abruptly terminates the virtual things of some of their well-sucked-in customers, simultaneously breaking their habitual connection to whatever game they were playing and providing the nontechies with an object lesson in just how ephemeral 'ownership' is in Zynga's horrid little playground.

In what universe, exactly, did this plan make any sense? Did Zynga hire some jackoff from an 'enterprise solutions' firm, who thinks that customers will just have to migrate to the shiny new product because support is no longer available for the old one?

Maybe they just did the math and realized they were paying more to keep the apps working with Facebook than they were making from them.

Re:A brilliant strategy... (1)

dingen (958134) | about 2 years ago | (#42444285)

I don't even really see the cost reduction. How much money would it take to keep a table online of flags saying which player has which objects?

Re:A brilliant strategy... (4, Interesting)

BronsCon (927697) | about 2 years ago | (#42444355)

Did Zynga hire some jackoff from an 'enterprise solutions' firm, who thinks that customers will just have to migrate to the shiny new product because support is no longer available for the old one?

My guess? Yes. May this turn out to be a lesson for everyone involved:

  • — To consumers: Vendor lock-in always bites you in the ass. ALWAYS. Learn to identify forms of lock-in and avoid them wherever possible, or know up-front that what you're spending your money on today can be taken from you tomorrow and be okay with this prior to the transaction.
  • — To corporations: When you screw your customers, or make them feel like you're screwing them, you lose them. The trick to keeping customers and extracting more money from them over a longer term is to keep them happy; underpromise, overdeliver, and never take away what has already been delivered (with legal exceptions, of course). A secondary lesson to take from this is: If you've been in the industry for any length of time, nobody knows your industry as well as you or your competitors; an outsider can not help you and a competitor will not help you; consider all offers of assistance with this in mind.
  • — To "Enterprise Solutions" douc^H^H^H^Hfirms: If you have fewer years of experience in a given industry than the company you're trying to "help", insist on payment up-front; you'll likely be near the bottom of the list of people to pay after the liquidation.

Also, why the fuck do unordered lists on /. not get bullets?

Re:A brilliant strategy... (1)

gavron (1300111) | about 2 years ago | (#42444539)

> In what universe, exactly, did this plan make any sense?

In this universe. They are a company. They provide goods and services. They determined
that some of those were not profitable. They ceased providing them. This is what we call
simple economic theory. If you prefer slogans think "buy low sell high" and "supply and demand."

Let me know if the small words I used were confusing to you.

best regards for a happy new year.

Ehud

Re:A brilliant strategy... (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | about 2 years ago | (#42444701)

That's a very simplistic way of looking at things. I suspect that Zynga looked at each game in isolation - the same as you're suggesting - and decided whether it was profitable or not. But how many people playing the games that they are going to close also play other, profitable Zynga games? There's a good chance they will lose them as customers entirely.

Re:A brilliant strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444677)

In what universe, exactly, did this plan make any sense? Did Zynga hire some jackoff from an 'enterprise solutions' firm, who thinks that customers will just have to migrate to the shiny new product because support is no longer available for the old one?

Fuzzy, first I love reading your posts, second I have a small comment to make on the matter you touch on:

I'm so thankful Chess was invented thousands of years ago, so some asshats can't "flip the off switch" (or the "fuck you here's a new shiny" switch).

Free board games: providing not only entertainment through the ages, but also providing a free intellectual sandbox to play in.

Quick, Guys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444135)

Put in a comment about how you're better than people why play these sorts of games. Start the year off right by showing everyone just how awesome you are!

Firms have lifetimes (1, Informative)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#42444147)

I am not sure who these people are that expects firms and products to last forever. I saw a good article recently about how innovation is thwarted because we have become used to continuity and standardization.We are so afraid of Dinsey retaliated on us because Mickey Mouse becomes public domain the we are willing to bork the entire IP system.

I suppose that all the games use the same base code, so releasing is for some games will not be possible. I also assume that the games are not paying for the server load of customer service. So I am not sure what an be done. It is like when a show is cancelled,. It is sometimes sad, but really there are other things we can do.

Pincus strikes again (1)

Isara (869637) | about 2 years ago | (#42444157)

Admittedly, there's nothing inherently wrong (from a business perspective) about a company choosing to shutter some of its lower-performing properties in the interest of reducing costs. The problem is that Pincus has a history of building up a large and popular product, getting a decent-sized population of users, then destroying it through poor management or general asshattery (see Tribe.net). Why anyone thinks he's a good CEO is beyond me.

provide closure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444227)

If I where the game designer, I'd at least provide an ending for the players. Have all the pets die of a illness common to that pet, have all the mafia characters get caught in an unwinnable gunfight.

Re:provide closure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444323)

If I where (sic) the game designer, I'd at least provide an ending for the players.

And if you were an MBA, you'd just shutoff those deadbeats as soon as they stop bringing in enough profit.

Guess which one Zynga is.

Re:provide closure (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444487)

Aren't they basically artistic skins of the same basic gameplay? So "importing" the pets into farmville or whatever with a new art theme doesn't strike me as technically challenging. So your doghouse because a farm barn in the database, but if you want, you can use the same internationalization engine that changes the name from "barn" to "agricola" or WTF to now change "barn" to "doghouse".

It would be like a game company with 50 WWII FPS sequel games "shutting down" one by rolling it into another. Not apparently a major technical achievement.

Re:provide closure (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#42444691)

Euphemistically, you could just send the pet to the farm(vile)

Re:provide closure (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42444719)

Better yet, have them all die in a massive pet/mafia war. You could even create a new game: Fluffy vs Mafia.

Mental Health issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444369)

If you go into a depression due to a game about virtual pets going away i think there are far serous things going on. What is next, a serial killer is born and its zynga's fault and is sued by victims families?

It's not your game -- or website (5, Insightful)

Roblimo (357) | about 2 years ago | (#42444371)

200 years ago, more or less, there was a heavily-censored online service called Prodigy, which had one adults-only section called "Frank Discussions" where you could talk about (gasp) sex 'n stuff like that.

And one day Prodigy closed Frank Discussions, prompting mucho whining from subscribers about how they closed "our" discussion board.

Yo, peoples: It belonged to Prodigy, not to you. Slashdot belongs to faceless corporate masters and used to belong to Rob Malda. If you don't like it, you can always do the Rusty Foster thing and start Kuro5hin or some such. Otherwise, it's not yours. And those little Facebook games aren't yours. They never have been. If the evil corps want to shut them down, too bad. They're proprietary and/or copyrighted stuff the owners can do with as they wish no matter how evil you think they're being.

Do you understand why free and/or open source software is a good idea now? :)

You pet isn't dead (4, Funny)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 2 years ago | (#42444405)

It's just gone to that great backup tape in the clouds. One day, if you're very very good, you'll go there too and you can play with your pet again.

Does it really cost much to run them? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#42444489)

I could see stopping enhancements, but actually taking the games down seems pointless. They can't cost that much to run. The operating costs are related to the number of users, who are presumably still viewing ads and buying in-game items. So there shouldn't be an operating loss.

What seems to be happening is that casual entertainment is moving to mobile, and Zynga was late with that. Zynga's business model relies on being in the right column of Facebook pages, and that column doesn't appear on phones. Zynga stock has dropped from 15 to 2.35 in less than a year. It's so bad that employees refused stock options. The consensus in the investment community seems to be that the CEO should resign.

Re:Does it really cost much to run them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444679)

The consensus in the investment community seems to be that the CEO should resign.

If you listen to what the "community" says - or even believe one such exists - then you deserve to lose all your money anyway.

This is excellent (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42444583)

They're teaching kids from an early age that keeping your stuff in 'The Cloud' is a retarded idea.

In contrast to Zynga.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444687)

Is a company called Tiny Speck. Maybe you have heard of them, some of you geeky folks pay attention to stuff. I mean that as a compliment, so please dont take offense.

I am posting AC because I'm just far too lazy to dig up my /. login and login. So dont get all gripey :P.

Anyway, Tiny Speck had a game called Glitch. It was a 2 dimensional side-scroller where you explore the world of Ur and craft things and interact with all the other users. It was very heavily Flash based (to Flash's limit and then some, according to one of the devs).

Glitch was cool because the developers would pop into Global chat from time to time (quite often). The game had lots of subtle adult humor but it really wasnt for kids at all.

Ur was a very pretty place, with lots of different environments; deserts, undersea places, mountains, forests. There were lots of things to do and usually someone to do things with at any given moment.

Anyway, my point in posting this in contrast to Zynga: The sad announcement came in November of 2012 that Glitch was closing. And in early December, it did indeed shut off access to the game servers and many Glitchen were sad about it, but we all got over it (most of us anyway, except for the one who ate Onion Rings constantly).

But what did Tiny Speck do with the subscriber money? Refunded it. I have no idea what percentage of it was left by the users to go to the newly out of work developers, but I am sure some did.

Unlike Zynga, Tiny Speck gave a shit about the users, their experiences and ultimately, what was in their wallets too - in that it gave back what it had gotten from quite a few of them.

I wish the guys at Tiny Speck well and all of us players wished that Glitch could have been sustainable, but in its current form it was just impossible. Flash was really at the limit and the overall costs (a lot) were just eating up cash like the Cookie Monster eats cookies.

We would all love it if Glitch came back in some other form. It was the anti-game. There was no real goal other than to just goof off in this odd world and see all the details in it. Maybe it could have used some higher level content for the maxed out players, but time would have given us that if it had been possible. Tiny Speck was very good about giving us new things.

So, while some companies can be like Zynga and have zero creativity, there are others out there like Tiny Speck. Ur was a hell of a place but I liked it.

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